ReLeaf 2019 in Pictures: Part II

Young people shone extra bright at the 2019 ReLeaf Conference, injecting energy and enthusiasm into the gathering.

After Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC) Director Greg Michel presented about the OEC mission and programming, OEC youth spoke about their experiences. Pictured here, Onondaga Earth Corps Crew Leader Tajuddin (Taj) shared from the heart about his connection to nature and concerns for the environment.
Young Adult Crew Member Jahkella is new to Onondaga Earth Corps and spoke about what she hopes to learn this season.

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ReLeaf 2019 in Pictures: Part I

Thank you, NYSDEC staff and Region 3 ReLeaf volunteers, for your hard work putting together a superb ReLeaf Conference.

Recent SUNY ESF grads Amandy Cruty (left) and Nafisa Tabassum are working as urban forestry technicians this summer with Syracuse City Arborist Steve Harris. They attended ReLeaf 2019 in the Hudson Valley, at Mount Saint Mary College.
Council Executive Secretary Liana Gooding (far right) addresses the Council Board just before the start of the conference. On average, 34 members serve on the Board and come from all nine DEC Regions of New York State.
SUNY ESF alum Lew Cutler came from Syracuse and retired doctor Kathy Gaffney came from Long Island to attend ReLeaf 2019. The conference theme was “Urban Forestry in a Rapidly Changing World,” referring in large part to the intersections of urban forestry and climate change.
Gloria Van Duyne is the NYSDEC Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator and facilitated and presented at ReLeaf 2019. She and her team worked with Region 3 volunteers to put on the conference.

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Village of Cassadaga & Lily Dale Assembly’s First Arbor Day Celebration

Cassadaga and Lily Dale residents planting a ‘Red Sunset’ red maple (Acer rubrum) at Cassadaga ball fields. Cassadaga and Lily Dale are located about an hour southwest of Buffalo.

An Arbor Day grant of $1000 and instruction from Council Board Member Lori Brockelbank helped the Village of Cassadaga (pop. ~610) and Assembly of Lily Dale (pop. ~275) celebrate their first Arbor Day on Saturday May 18, 2019.

The family-friendly event started at the Cassadaga Library with crafts for kids, free saplings, refreshments, and Lori’s presentation. Among other things, she covered the benefits of trees; Right Plant, Right Place; tree planting and aftercare; and dealing with deer, beaver, and salt. She also talked about job opportunities in the urban forestry field, which piqued the interest of Cassadaga Job Corps youth. The group then headed out to plant trees.

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Getting to Know Onondaga Earth Corps Director Greg Michel

Greg Michel (at left) went with a team of Onondaga Earth Corps staff and advanced crew members–Nick, Amanda, Taveon, and Tyrell–to the 2018 Partners in Urban Forestry Conference in Irvine, California.

Over the years, Onondaga Earth Corps (OEC) and the Council have partnered in various fruitful ways. OEC Director Greg Michel (pron. “Michael”) recently joined the Council Board; we wanted to get to know him and OEC better. A Council Blog post about the work of OEC can be seen here.

Greg Michel was born in Boston, then raised in Houston for a decade before his family moved to upstate NY when he was 12. He spent a gap year between high school and college in Japan as a Rotary Exchange Student, establishing an abiding interest in Japanese culture. After high school he attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio where he majored in International Studies with a regional focus on Japan and wrote his undergraduate thesis on “The Role of Japanese Identity in Cross-Cultural Communication.”

Michel then went to Tokyo Gakugei University to study International and Environmental Education at the graduate level, writing his thesis on “Impact of Global Connections on Place-Based Environmental Education,” and earning his master’s degree in 2001. 

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Habitats for Bats: 2019 Fifth Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest

The winning 2019 Fifth Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest winner will depict the theme, “Habitats for Bats.” Entries are due December 21, 2018. Full contest rules along with lesson plans for teachers can be found here.

According to NYSDEC, most bats eat a variety of things including flying insects, fruit, nectar, and small animals. New York State is home to nine species of bats. Six species are cave bats, which hibernate in caves during the winter but live in a variety of places during the summer, including trees. Three species are tree bats that live year-round in trees. DEC produced a terrific brochure about these nine species that might prove helpful to the fifth grade artists.

 

North Collins Celebrates First-Ever Arbor Day

North Collins kindergartners helped heel in the swamp white trees planted on Arbor Day 2018, the town’s first AD celebration. Photos Courtesy Town of North Collins

With the help of a grant from the Council, the Town of North Collins (pop. approx 3600) in Erie County celebrated its first-ever Arbor Day on April 27. Kindergartners read tree tributes and helped plant two swamp white oaks (Quercus bicolor) in the Marion J. Fricano Town Park at the future Veterans Tribute site. North Collins Town Supervisor John Tobia spoke at the event about the origins of Arbor Day.

Location of North Collins in Erie County in New York State.

In addition to kindergartners and their teachers, the event was attended by Town Board Councilwoman Ellen Mathis, Town Clerk Lynn DiVencenzo, the Veterans Tribute Committee, and Town Forestry Committee Chair Wes Awald, whom Tobia thanked for his special effort getting this Arbor Day celebration organized. 

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Pine Hollow Arboretum: Environmental Education in the Capital District

Arboreta are a unique component of the urban forest, a place where we can see the breadth of beautiful trees and shrubs suited to our climate. They also make excellent outdoor environmental education labs.

For the 7th year, NYSUFC organizational member The Pine Hollow Arboretum in Slingerlands (a suburb of Albany), is providing an opportunity for area students to connect with nature in a meaningful way. The goals of the program are to increase overall environmental literacy and stewardship, to foster an appreciation for biodiversity, and to provide a venue for collaboration across socioeconomic and cultural barriers serving as a step towards community connectivity in the Capital District. 

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Winning 2018 Fifth Grade NY Arbor Day Poster Contest Artist

Sydney Starkey
Congratulations to 5th grader Sydney Starkey from Pocantico Hills School in Sleepy Hollow, who won the 5th Grade 2018 NY Arbor Day poster contest! This year’s theme was “Trees for Bees.” She is seen here with her parents, Catherine and David, at the DEC Urban Forestry Awards ceremony in Albany in March.

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Behind the Scenes with Arbor Day Poster Contest Winner

Sarah at Arbor Day ceremony
from left: Sarah Werner, 2017 winner of the statewide 5th grade Arbor Day poster contest; Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard; and Patricia Reinhardt, chair of the Arbor Day Committee and a member of Warwick Valley Gardeners. Photo by Denise Werner

Last spring, many students from the Warwick Valley Central School District took part in the 2017 Arbor Day Ceremony on April 28th at Stanley-Deming Park, co-hosted by the Village of Warwick and Warwick Valley Gardeners. Among them was fifth grader Sarah Werner, whose artwork on the theme of “Defend New York’s Forests” was chosen as the statewide Arbor Day poster contest winner. We talked with Sarah and her Mom, Denise, about this achievement and about their personal connection with trees.

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Sarah: When I saw the theme ‘Defend New York’s Forests’, I thought of a fantasy where the forest had a shield, like a knight protecting the forest. The forest is behind the shield, but different kinds of trees are featured in front of it. My Mom taught me how to paint trees. I’ve been into art since I was very little, where I started with finger painting. My favorite trees are the maples because of all their fall colors. Trees always calm me. They put me in a peaceful mind place.

Denise: Since Sarah was a baby, my husband and I have taken her hiking in the forest near us, Wawayanda State Park. From six months old on she was out there in a backpack with us. Also since Sarah learned to walk, she helped me water newly planted spruce trees around the property. Those experiences influenced her awareness of trees and why trees are good for the environment. 

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